In the final installment of a Country of Cities, Vishaan pens a love letter to Japan, a country that has shaped his beliefs in the importance of dense urban living.
In the ninth installment of A Country of Cities, Vishaan examines the protests unfolding across the Middle East in terms of how urban space can enhance or prohibit social change.
We all of course know the story of Noah’s Ark -- of massive floods sent by a disgusted God to wipe out our corrupted civilization except for Noah, who, with his family, builds an Ark to save pairs of animals to eventually repopulate the planet. The contemporary take on the story has some new twists.
Xenophobia. Unfunded entitlements. Anti-immigrant zeal. More retirees than workers. Crumbling infrastructure. Failing schools. Threats to burn books. Taken together, our national ailments have shaken my belief in a Country of Cities. I have argued on these pages that density and infrastructure, and the diverse ecology they engender, can lead us out of this recession to a greener, leaner nation...
As oil spills into the Gulf, blood spills in the streets of Greece, and cash spills from terrorist wallets into the hands of willing airline agents, one wonders who can clean up this mess. We tell our children to clean up after themselves, but can we? Disciplining a child is a perilous affair, but in the end self-discipline is the challenge. Self-discipline requires introspection, but how much of it can we muster in a world careening towards 9 billion people?